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K. Higa, S. Shimmura, Y. Uchino, K. Tsubota; Accelerated Epithelial Turn Over in a Rabbit Model of Bullous Keratopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2010;51(13):1955.
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Long-term bullous keratopathy (BK) is associated with peripheral conjunctivalization and limbal deficiency. We hypothesized that such cases of limbal deficiency may be due to accelerated turnover of corneal epithelial cells. To investigate this hypothesis, we examined the influence of the BK on the corneal epithelium in a rabbit model.
Japanese white rabbits were injected with 30 mg/ kg/ day 5-bromo- 2’-deoxyuridine (BrdU) from the ear vein for 10 days. Continuous curvilinear descemetorhexis (CCD) was performed to remove a circular section of the Descemet’s membrane (DM) using inverted Shinskey hook. Corneal tissue sections of BK eyes were observed at 0, 1, 2 and 6 weeks, with the right eye serving as a control. BrdU and Ki-67 expression pattern in corneal epithelium was observed by immunohistochemistry for evaluation of cell proliferation.
Rabbit corneas stripped of DM immediately became edematous after surgery, and thickness became five times that of control corneal after 1 week. Vascularization of the peripheral cornea was observed in BK eyes after 2 weeks, however, conjunctivalization was rarely observed at 6 weeks. The number of BrdU positive cells tended to be lower in the BK cornea epithelium compared to the control cornea epithelium. The number of Ki67 positive cells also showed a tendency to increase in the BK corneal epithelium.
Long-term BK may cause limbal deficiency through accelerating the turnover of corneal epithelial cells.
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